Chapter 26. American Indians

  1. Philip Goff Director Professor
  1. Tracy Neal Leavelle Associate Professor

Published Online: 16 APR 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444324082.ch26

The Blackwell Companion to Religion in America

The Blackwell Companion to Religion in America

How to Cite

Leavelle, T. N. (2010) American Indians, in The Blackwell Companion to Religion in America (ed P. Goff), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444324082.ch26

Editor Information

  1. Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, USA

Author Information

  1. Creighton University, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 APR 2010
  2. Published Print: 23 APR 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405169363

Online ISBN: 9781444324082



  • traditions and movements;
  • American Indians - Oglala Lakota holy man Black Elk, widely recognized American Indian religious figure in modern times;
  • bestselling book Black Elk Speaks (1932) - insight into nineteenth-century Lakota traditions;
  • pace of change in American Indian communities - accelerating with the arrival of Europeans;
  • summarizing American Indian religions - in all of their diversity, being even harder;
  • First Peoples of North America, strong sense of identity rooted firmly in ceremonial and storytelling traditions;
  • resistance and revitalization - European colonization and American conquest of North America, pressure on Native peoples;
  • Boas rejecting social evolution as basis for cultural analysis - study of cultures as dynamic systems, Kwakiutl of Pacific Northwest coast;
  • contemporary American Indian Christianity - important areas of study


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Black Elk Speaks and People Listen

  • The Challenge of Diversity and Change

  • Origins: Peoples, Places, and Practices

  • Religious Encounters in Early America

  • Resistance and Revitalization

  • Recent Academic Approaches to American Indian Religions

  • Colonization and Decolonization

  • Bibliography